Teen Stereotypes


Julia Hardy, Reporter

Teenagers are very well known for a lot of things. Whether it be lazy, disrespectful, or dramatic, there is a constant flurry of rumors swirling around about teens. All these stereotypes- true, false, or somewhere in between- can be extremely destructive.

When young people are presented these stereotypes, they tend to adapt to them for various reasons. 46% of teens believe we follow them because it’s what society tells us to, while 23% believe it’s natural. Some kids want to fit in, and do things they normally wouldn’t. “A lot of people do what they think other people are doing, just to fit in,” claims Faith Shahan, Freshman at OHS. When ideas are forced onto people, especially adolescents, they often configure to them in effort to please both themselves and everybody else. “It’s part of human nature to try and find an answer to something to help us feel more comfortable with our surroundings. We need to understand what’s happening, so we feel we have some form of control,” says Cady Naegle, freshman at OHS. People like to have everything organized. Many feel most comfortable when everything is set in place, and stays that way. It is hard to accept change, so putting people into different groups can help some feel at ease. “I think it’s easy to just lump people together by similarities that may be perceived, but might not be accurate,” says Mrs. Fabritius, Marketing teacher at OHS.

Society has a lot of expectations for everybody, no matter the circumstances. There are so many different areas people are expected to have perfected, and it’s just unreasonable. There’s the jocks, nerds, preps, dropouts. Nobody really fits into one exact type of person, and putting people in boxes in an attempt to give everybody a place, actually creates more confusion. No matter what, somebody will be left out. “People naturally gravitate towards their peers and who they feel comfortable with, and they may not be intentionally trying to disparage or discriminate someone else, but it’s human nature,” Mrs Fabritius explains.

Stereotyping can cause quite a bit of harm to some people. High school is hard enough for young people, without the pressure of feeling like they should or shouldn’t do all these different things. School, work, sports, family, friends, teens have to handle so much at once, it can be hard to process. Keeping everything in order, certain people in specific groups, eating lunch in the same place every day, it can help ease their minds a bit. But it doesn’t help in the long run. Many people don’t fit into their designated stereotype. “As a cheerleader, I think that one stands out a lot because everyone categorizes me as something I’m not just because of the uniform I wear,” Cady explains. The expectations of teens aren’t always false, however. 73% of teenagers believe that common stereotypes are only sometimes an accurate depiction of modern teens. For example, the thought that high schoolers are addicted to technology. It is not false that there has been a very large rise in tech use, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Assumptions sometimes don’t help, but hinder. Whether or not it’s on purpose, stereotyping can cause a lot of harm.